Testimonial Dinner Inspires Johns Creek Community

Over 70 guests joined with FIRST as we proudly honored Kelly and Mark Klafter on September 18 at the Country Club of the South in Johns Creek, Georgia. The Klafters have been fiercely committed to the mission of FIRST since their very first introduction to the organization nearly 13 years ago, when they became the proud and loving parents to their son, Adam. Adam was born with epidermolytic ichthyosis. Over the past 13 years, both Kelly and Mark have taken an active role in FIRST, by attending and participating in several FIRST National Conferences and regional Patient Support Forums and hosting several fundraisers, raising over $150,000 to support FIRST’s valuable programs and services.

Kelly and Mark continue to work to unite families affected by this rare genetic skin condition. Kelly serves as a volunteer in FIRST’s Regional Support Network, where she connects with families who have a child recently diagnosed with ichthyosis. Mark often answers questions posted by families on the FIRST Facebook group page and serves as a guest “Dad” blogger on the FIRST Blog. Both Kelly and Mark guide new families through challenging times with a sense of understanding, compassion and a much-needed laugh. Parents of newly diagnosed children hear about Adam’s successes and the environment of love and support Kelly and Mark created for both Adam and his older brother Matthew.

Their participation in FIRST has helped shape the organization to where it is today, the leading global patient advocacy group for individuals with ichthyosis. Mark served on the FIRST Board of Directors for several years, including a term as the organization’s Chief Financial Officer.

The event, raising over $39,000, was a spirited evening of friends and family reuniting, guests mingling, and a special educational video presentation.  A touching tribute video was also presented, comprised of personal messages from FIRST families about the role Kelly and Mark played in their lives.  Speakers for the evening included Kelly’s parents, Michael Briggs and Edie Wohlgang, Frank Selvaggio, Director, National Sales, SE Region, Spectrum Reach; Dr. Dennis Roop, a professor of Dermatology at University of Colorado; and Jeffrey Hoerle, President of the FIRST Board of Directors.

When the speeches and tributes commenced, it was clear that FIRST had made the very best decision for their 2015 honorees, and that each and every attendee was proud to take part in such a deserving tribute.

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